Instructables

Design and build a side-lit LED sign at TechShop

This Instructable shows you how to build a Side-lit Acrylic Sign, illuminated by an LED light fixture.
For this project we'll use a laser cutter to cut wood and acrylic. We use multiple layers of laser-cut wood glued together to achieve a complex shape easily, and a laser-cut acrylic cutout provides the sign.

I manufactured and constructed this item at TechShop.

 
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Step 1: Consider look you want for the base

The first thing you should do is consider the final look you want.

In my case I wanted a long thin modern sign and LED fixture, with the sign about 3" tall and the base about 1" thick and 8" long or so. It's illuminated by LEDs, so it's super-low-power and very safe.

Once the general shape is known, you determine the materials that build up to create your item, when using this process. This box has a mixed profile (where different widths exist and sections which might be hard to carve or cut out of one piece of material), so a good way to do this it to 'slice' your design and cut out the different slices, then glue them together. In my case I had a bottom section and walls which were different, and I also chose this method because thinner material is a lot less expensive than thicker material to do the same thing. Finally, carving deep sections in wood is not as easy with the laser cutter -- it's much better at cutting straight through, so again I chose the slice method.

Also, choose the material for the box layers - I chose a nice 1/4" birch plywood which was inexpensive and at a thickness very easy to cut. More on this later. You could choose anything the laser can cut including wood, wood products like MDF, acrylics of all colors and even glass; but, the construction technique I used was glue, so wood makes the most sense. I won't cover constructing plastic or glass items here, but there's more data on this online.

audreyobscura4 months ago

Hi! I would like to feature this project on the Instructables Home Page. Do you think you could swap out your very first image for an image of your finished project?

Thanks! Reply to this comment when you have made that adjustment.

Audrey

Community Manager @ Instructables.com

babylonfive (author)  audreyobscura4 months ago

Thank you! That sounds great.

Vermanen6 months ago

Nice name! <3